A new report details that AT&T is looking to sell Crunchyroll to Sony for as much as $1.5 billion.
The report comes from The Information who cite “three people familiar with the situation.”
The Information is the same outlet that had previously reported that AT&T and WarnerMedia were having discussions about selling Crunchyroll back in May.
Their May report detailed, “AT&T’s WarnerMedia has had discussions about selling a Crunchyroll.” One of the buyers the report detailed that they had discussions with was Sony.
At the time they speculated the reasons for selling the company were to reduce debt.
The company had faced pressure to reduce debt from shareholder Elliott Management, but they had reportedly cut a deal with them back in October.
However, that report from May also indicated that plans to sell off Crunchyroll might have changed with WarnerMedia’s new CEO Jason Kilar taking over as well as the result of the ongoing pandemic.
This new report also details that Sony is the prime target to purchase Crunchyroll and again claims the reason behind the sale is to reduce debt.
The Information reports, “WarnerMedia’s willingness to sell Crunchyroll, which has contributed content to the company’s new streaming service HBO MAX and been featured in its marketing, also shows AT&T’s willingness to sell valuable assets to bring down its $151 billion debt load.”
They add, “AT&T has been looking to sell non-core assets to reduce debt. Among the other businesses on the block are Warner’s gaming unit.”
YouTube’s Clownfish TV host Kneon would also state, “That’s the thing. It wasn’t the original plan to sell Crunchyroll. As I understand it, as of last year the talk of last year was to roll Crunchyroll into HBO Max.”
He continued, “And now AT&T is in such a place right now, WarnerMedia is in such a place, it might actually benefit them to just sell it off if they can sell it off instead of keeping it.”
This report comes out just as Crunchyroll announced a brand new exclusive in Jujutsu Kaisen that will arrive on their streaming platform in October. It also comes in the wake of AT&T gutting DC Comics and DC Universe.
It also comes out after AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President and CFO John Stephens boasting about their software-based entertainment like HBO Max and AT&T TV. As The Information notes, Crunchyroll is contributing content to HBO Max.
Stephens also noted that the company has also been working to address its upcoming debt maturities. A press release from AT&T claims, “In addition, Stephens said that AT&T has continued to take advantage of low borrowing costs and rates to address upcoming debt maturities. As a result, the company has reduced the amount of its debt maturing within the next 4 years by about $23 billion, an improvement of about $8 billion since the end of the second quarter.”
That same press release also indicated that AT&T plans to evolve to have a focus on consumer demand, “Following the successful launch of HBO Max, Stephens noted that the recent reorganization of WarnerMedia will accelerate the businesses’ transition to meet evolving consumer needs. At the same time, WarnerMedia plans to continue to invest in content, expand its reach and scale and effectively operate its legacy businesses.”
What do you make of this new report? Do you think AT&T is considering selling Crunchyroll? What do you make of their alleged price tag?